The eagle has landed

Wednesday August 3rd – the much-awaited portakabin is finally delivered by DGHP to the site on Dunlop Road!! A tangible sign of so much hope and investment of energy, creative thinking, hard work and love.

Photo – Matt Baker

Our vision from the start of the project has been to establish a permanent base within the community to work from. And from our first organised meeting with residents and DGHP staff back in early December, we have been planning towards this moment when a permanent physical space can join our creative toolkit. We have definitely entered Phase 2 of the project.

Blue sky thinking – ideas without boundaries

Looking towards the green open space and distant hills – so much potential

Back in the early weeks of the WWDN project I had visions of creating an interior space inspired by Kurt Schwitters’ Merzbau, seeing it as perhaps the ultimate creative placemaking. But now I tend to see it as an inspiring colonisation of mundane spaces into wildly imagined domestic cathedrals of the mind – or just plain inspiration for us artists trying to imagine the best use of a space for creativitiy in the community.

Kurt Schwitters’ Merzbau – Schwitters dramatically altered the interiors of a number of spaces throughout his life. The most famous was The Merzbau, the transformation of six (or possibly more) rooms of the family house in Hannover, Waldhausenstrasse 5. This took place very gradually; work started in about 1923, the first room was finished in 1933, and Schwitters subsequently extended the Merzbau to other areas of the house until he fled to Norway in early 1937. It was destroyed in 1943 in an Allied bombing raid. *

Whose space will it be?

Coming back down to earth, our use of space in the Art Cabin will be more dictated by usefulness for purpose and creative flexibility…but a key question still remains: whose space will it be?

Local helpers Ava, Esme and Paton lending a hand with the clean-up inside
Those walls look a lot whiter than they did before
Paton and Lucy helping to clean the outside before painting

It must belong to the community more than to us individual artists. Or at least on an equal footing, as we are a part of the community. This sounds ironic as in a sense we made it happen, but when you think about it, everybody made it happen – from our initial meeting with Lynsey in the concrete yard outside her block as the starting point of actually meeting the community. Or maybe before that when we met Angie and the team at LIFT. Or even before that when we were interviewed for the job and we met Angie then on the panel. Or was it when I visited the the area of Lochside myself before the interview and felt strangely at home there before I knew anything about it? I think the project belongs to Lochside and we all need to know our individual roles within that dynamic truth.

Alice tearing up the cabin floor with a certain relish

Rosie and younger team members cleaning the outside of the Art Cabin

Taking a well-earned break

Later that same day Alice the Dynamo pops back and starts painting the outside…nothing can stop her

Cleaning worktops with energy and lots of soap…and Reggie the dog putting up with Alice

The first Art Cabin birthday – Lucy turns 12 today!

All hands on deck to paint the inside

The painting crew show off their nails (and birthday wrapping paper) – great work guys

Proof that I did more than just take photos…and new flooring arrives

Alice and Rosie finish the exterior in a subtle shade of blue-grey – a colour that merges with the sky

The philosophy of colour

What is colour, does it even exist? Since Galileo we understand that things do not have colour in themselves, it depends on our perception of a certain wavelength of light bouncing off the object and hitting the retina in our eye…but the classic question remains even now unanswered: if a tree falls in the forest unobserved by anyone or thing, does it do so in black and white ( and without sound)? It’s easier to understand that our bedroom becomes black at night because we can’t see the potential colours, but we still can’t know if they exist or not beyond our own perception. We believe it by past experience and memory.

Why this cod philosophy? I believe in the potential of this Art Cabin to generate ideas and experiences never before seen in either the participants or the world in general. This is more than a blue box, it represents the hopes and dreams and belief in better of many people already. We have prepared for it in our minds and actions for a year and have tried to include as many other folk as well in our vision for what it could be and where it could take us.

Community art more than any other kind, depends on an audience to have any meaning. It needs a context to exist at all – it is the opposite of art for art’s sake. This makes it dynamic and exciting and unexpected. There will be many colours coming out of the cabin, all of them made visible by the folk who are a part of making them and sharing them with others. Let’s get on with it.

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